The showdown between federal authorities and rancher Cliven Bundy, his family and supporters in Nevada is one of those rare topics from the libertarian-conservative news agenda that actually made its way into the establishment media. Between last Thursday and Monday, ABC, CBS and NBC gave the story a total of nearly 16 minutes of coverage on their morning and evening newscasts.
Network journalists have consistently framed the case as one of a rancher failing to pay the requested fees for his use of government land. But they have failed to use the case to tell the larger story of how environmental rules — in this case, regulations to protect the desert tortoise, have been implemented in ways that help favored interests (land developers, or solar companies) while hurting others (cattle ranchers, for example).
As stoners prepare for their annual 420 smoking “holiday” on April 20, the broadcast networks have done little to educate users on the risks of their leafy drug of choice in spite of extensive reporting on state legalization of pot.
Network evening news reported the growth and legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington state and Colorado. ABC, CBS and NBC evening news programs spent more than 30 minutes discussing the newly legal drug between Oct. 1, 2013, and March 31, 2014. However, the networks rarely addressed marijuana-related health or safety risks, despite blunt support for such education among pot advocates.
CBS News devoted 15 and a half minutes on Wednesday night and Thursday morning to an interview with Barack Obama. Despite April 15th having just passed, correspondent Major Garrett offered no questions on taxes or the IRS scandal. He also avoided any queries on ObamaCare or the Benghazi terrorist attack.
Instead, more than four minutes on This Morning were given over to a horse race discussion on 2016. (Joe Biden joined the interview for that section.) Garrett did press the President on Russia and Ukraine, quizzing, "In your mind, is there a line, never mind the color, is there a line in eastern Europe or Ukraine, that Vladimir Putin must not cross?" After Obama paused as he formulated an answer, the journalist prodded, "Can you articulate that for the world and for the Russian government?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Conan O'Brien apparently couldn't resist making a pedophile priest joke on his TBS program on Wednesday, after Pope Francis took two school boys on a ride around St. Peter's Square during his weekly audience: "The Pope let two 11-year-old boys ride in the Popemobile with him...Afterwards, the Vatican told the Pope, that's not the kind of publicity we're looking for today. What the hell is that all about? Kids, get in – come on!" [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
MSNBC contributor Jared Bernstein pulled off a deft sleight-of-hand on Tuesday’s PoliticsNation. It started after host Al Sharpton played a clip of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) calling for fiscal responsibility: “If Washington is serious about helping working families or serious about getting families out of work back to work, then it needs to get serious about our national debt. How do we do it? First we stop spending money we don't have.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Bernstein, formerly Vice President Joe Biden’s chief economist, blasted Ryan for being “wrong on the numbers” (even though Ryan didn’t cite any numbers in the clip). He claimed:
The New York Times resolutely refused to see a pattern of jihad on the part of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in its sympathetic front-page Tuesday profile of his prison conditions. Yet on Wednesday the Times ran an op-ed that used an anti-Semitic killer in Kansas to represent the hidden domestic terror threat of military veterans.
Liberals often complain about the mainstream media's unwillingness to state that many right-wing talking points are (supposedly) bogus and even bizarre. One such liberal, media critic Eric Alterman, wrote last year that "[o]ver and over, no matter what the issue—no matter how outlandish, illogical, or simply untrue the conservative argument has been—journalists create a sense of false equivalence between positions that rest on data and logic and those that don’t."
This past Sunday, Daily Kos featured writer Egberto Willies blasted the MSM for failing to expose alleged GOP lies about Obamacare and other health-care topics. Willies declared that the media's overall poor performance has brought about "an uninformed populace and a corrupted politics," but added that the good news is that truth-telling left-wing bloggers are riding to the rescue.
Wednesday's NBC Nightly News featured an overwhelmingly positive profile of Michael Bloomberg's new gun control advocacy group. That built upon the network's cheerleading of Bloomberg on Wednesday morning.
Almost the entire story featured quotes from Bloomberg and supporters, with just one soundbite from the NRA. Anchor Brian Williams reported Bloomberg's $50 million pledge without a hint of irony after lamenting big money politics two weeks before.
On the Wednesday, April 16, PoliticsNation on MSNBC, far-left host Al Sharpton berated what he viewed as "extremism" and "intolerant radical views" of Republican candidates for U.S. Senate in Mississippi and North Carolina as he highlighted comments that he considered "offensive," "ugly," and "vile."
Guest Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post went so far as to hyperbolically suggest that the GOP is "going to cease to exist" unless Republican Party leaders who are "aghast at the far-right extremists" do not react against these candidates.
An unsigned Wednesday article in the Military Times spotlighted how veteran groups have rebuked the New York Times for an opinion piece that played up the recent shootings at two Jewish community centers as apparent proof that white veterans are susceptible to joining hate groups. Paul Rieckhoff of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America hammered the liberal newspaper for its "sensational, slanderous and incredibly offensive" attack on his peers.
In the Wednesday op-ed, author Kathleen Belew cited a controversial 2009 Department of Homeland Security report that hyped the potential for "right-wing extremists...to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities," and targeted conservatives for their criticism of its findings. Belew even threw the race card into the mix:
There has been the usual tax day-related glut of articles from liberal publications urging a federal takeover of the tax preparation business. As always, the ultra-left wing blog Pro Publica took the lead, followed predictably by outlets such as Slate, Vox, and Tax Analysts, as well as respectable news outlets like Bloomberg View and Yahoo!.
The basic argument is always the same: the IRS has all this information on you anyway, so wouldn't it just be easier and better if they simply prepared your taxes for you? Wouldn't that be better than having to pay some rent-seeking middleman? This flawed line of thinking fools many a reporter this time of year, but it's refuted pretty easily once you scratch beneath the surface. Below are the top seven reasons the IRS should not prepare your taxes for you:
When its parent company’s planned merger made national news, NBC News turned into little more than the PR branch of Comcast.
Comcast-owned NBC has been almost eerily silent about opposition to the deal, since news broke that Comcast had plans to merge with Time Warner Cable. NBC’s four segments on the merger were mainly positive. Two of NBC’s four stories failed to mention any controversy about the mega-merger, and NBC disclosed that Comcast owned NBCUniversal in just two stories.
Two Democratic politicians in Texas apparently warranted a front page, 1200 word story in Wednesday's New York Times. Writer Jason Horowitz profiled San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and his brother, Congressman Joaquin Castro.
According to Horowitz, "The two brothers share not only looks, ambition and personal mannerisms — they both lower their heads, with almost monklike modesty, when greeting people — but also a childhood steeped in Latino activism, bunk beds and English." Horowitz also repeatedly hinted that one of the brothers could end up on a presidential ticket in 2016.
CNN's Chris Cuomo tried to get former Assistant Secretary of State Jamie Rubin to defend President Obama's response to Russia's aggression in Ukraine during a segment on Wednesday's New Day. Cuomo cited how Russian President Vladimir Putin "did this in Georgia.....under President Bush" in 2008, and wondered, "Is it fair to look at this situation and say, the weakness or perception of weakness of President Obama has given a window of opportunity to Putin?"
The anchor didn't identify Rubin as either a former Clinton administration official or as the husband of CNN personality Christiane Amanpour. Interestingly, the State Department veteran didn't give Cuomo the response he was looking for: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
During a hard-hitting question and answer session with Jill Biden on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Tamron Hall wondered what made drew the Second Lady to the Vice President: "What made you fall for Joe Biden? Was it his humor? What was it?" Certainly not a question Lynne Cheney was ever asked about Dick Cheney on the morning show. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
MSNBC is not known as a champion of religion, unless it’s someone who is liberal coming on to criticize religious individuals, especially if they are a member of the Catholic Church. Take Sister Simone Campbell, president of the liberal Catholic organization NETWORK, who has been featured on the “Lean Forward” network multiple times for her criticism of Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and his budget priorities.
Appearing as a guest on Andrea Mitchell Reports on Wednesday April 16, the fawning over Ms. Campbell was evident, with Mitchell proclaiming how “the honor is all mine” to finally meet Campbell in person. [See video below.]
In September 2010, Lachlan Markay at NewsBusters put up a post entitled "Eight Dems Arrested in Bell, CA 'Corruption on Steroids' - Not a Single Mention of Party Affiliation From Media."
Almost four years later (!), reviews of search engine results and specific news stories on the sentencing of Robert Rizzo, the community's former city manager, are again returning no mentions of the fact that Rizzo is a Democrat.
Fox News host Bill O’Reilly appeared on ABC’s The View on Wednesday April 16 and had some harsh words for incoming CBS late night host Stephen Colbert.
O’Reilly began his analysis by arguing that Colbert is “More than a comedian. He’s a mouthpiece for the far left.” to which co-host Barbara Walters rushed to Colbert’s defense and argued that “I mean he’s just a comedian. Isn’t that going a little far Bill? The rest of The View cast, including Jenny McCarthy jumped in and wondered if “conservatives will give him a chance?” [See video below.]
MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow Daily wasn’t exactly in Reverence Mode for the Boston Marathon bombing victims. About 40 minutes before the memorial ceremony on Tuesday afternoon, Farrow aired a segment about Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s love for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and how it somehow may have led to his radicalism.
How is the “robust martial arts culture” of wrestling a better “scene” for Tamerlan’s radicalism instead of radical websites or mosques? Farrow somberly promised “a look at the people behind this tragedy: the Tsarnaev brothers.” Was it just a tragedy, or a crime? Farrow turned to his partners at Vocativ for a report. (Video below)